China to launch communications satellite named after Wuhan

China will launch the first two communications satellites for its space-based Internet-of-Things project with one of them named after its birthplace Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus, officials said on Friday.

The rocket to send the satellites, Kuaizhou-1A, was developed by the Wuhan-based Sanjiang Group under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).

Despite its proximity to the epicentre of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company staff worked hard to ensure the success of the mission, state-run 'Xinhua' news agency reported.

The two satellites, Xingyun-2 01 and 02, are the first stars of the "Xingyun Engineering" project, which is scheduled to complete the network with 80 low-orbit communications satellites. They were designed and developed by the Xingyun Satellite Company, a subsidiary of Sanjiang Group.

Xingyun-2 01 was named "Wuhan". It will work for a Chinese low-orbit constellation for Internet-of-Things (IoT) communications and be tested in industries related to marine, forestry and engineering machinery, the report said.

Wuhan, where COVID-19 originated in December last year, bore the brunt of the virus with over 50,000 cases.